I found out I was pregnant on Saturday 21st May 2016, after peeing on a Poundland pregnancy test that I had hiding in the back of a cabinet. Unable to believe what I was seeing, I immediately drove to Boots and bought a Clearblue Digital test and a First Response test. And here began my baby brand journey.
I purchase or use products for one of three reasons. I either trust it, I like the price (be it low or high) or I like what it says about me (I’m not very proud of that last point but as a Brand whore, I have to be honest with myself). When it came to the test which was to finally confirm I was pregnant, I couldn’t bring myself to trust the cheap test, because I associated quality with price.
Over the years, I have built up these levels of trust. I have developed relationships with certain brands that I trust, feel an affinity with or that I want to, outwardly, be associated with. But, with a baby in my belly and £20 worth of pregnancy tests in my hands, I realised a whole new world was opening up in front of me.
How do we decide between Uppababy and iCandy? Between Pampers and Aldi own nappies? Can we trust recommendations? ‘Which’ reviews? And when it comes to what we use on babies skin, it becomes even more emotive.
When I fell pregnant, my very excited Mother bought a whole host of things for her first grandson. One of those was a basket full of Johnson’s products because, in her words, she only wanted ‘the best’ for him. She comes from a time where these products were market leaders, with very little competition, where even the smell of their baby wipes was synonymous with the smell of babies. But faced with a barrage of information from websites and magazines and professionals, I started to worry that I’d somehow be damaging him if I wasn’t using Neal’s Yard or Aveeno or Burts Bees, that I was exposing him to unnecessary chemicals and harming his skin.
In the end, I used the Johnson’s products because we had them and I’m tight, but it really got me thinking about the issue of trust and cost when it comes to those first few purchases before babies arrive.
Like a wedding, it seems price is no object when it comes to babies. In fact, I often felt I’d made a better purchase, been a better parent when I spent more. If I could have bought his pram for a quarter of the cost, would it have felt as special? When it came to his first outfit, or his ‘going home’ outfit, it had to be new, despite a number of beautiful outfits that friends had donated to me.
So trust and cost seem to be inextricably linked, something which brands understand and capitalise on and something which I, if no one else, am seduced by. But what about that last point? The thorny issue of brand association and the ‘tribe’ you assign yourself to. I’m happy to admit, working as a Brand Manager, that I was prepared to spend more on certain items because I wanted the promise. I wanted to look, outwardly, like I had it sorted, like I had motherhood nailed. Motherhood camouflage, I told myself no one could question me if I fit in, if I blended with the other Mums.
Then, of course, I had my baby and that all went to shit. I realised, no amount of trust or camouflage or organic shampoo or carefully curated Instagram pictures would stop me feeling like every single new mother feels*
* The feelings are so ridiculously wide ranging I wont even write them.
A Guest Blog from Corinna Gee